Hobhouse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Hobhouse emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Hobhouse family originally lived in Hobhouse in Drewsteignton, Devon. [1] Another source claims the family came from Cornwall, [2] but most of the later records are from Bristol and Somerset. This very rare surname rose to prominence first in Devon and Bristol and later in Somerset.

Early Origins of the Hobhouse family

The surname Hobhouse was first found in Somerset, where they held a family seat from the 16th century after migrating from Devon. Records there show John Hobhouse in the Subsidy Rolls of 1524 and in another entry for the same name in 1642. [1]

Early History of the Hobhouse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hobhouse research. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1682, 1685 and 1763 are included under the topic Early Hobhouse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hobhouse Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Hobhouse, Hobhaus and others.

Early Notables of the Hobhouse family (pre 1700)

Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hobhouse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hobhouse family

The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Hobhouse: family members who sailed to North America in 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and who contributed greatly to New World society.


Contemporary Notables of the name Hobhouse (post 1700) +

  • Hermione Hobhouse (1934-2014), English architectural historian and conservationist
  • Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse (1886-1965), English politician, the architect of the system of National Parks of England and Wales
  • Arthur Hobhouse (1819-1904), 1st Baron Hobhouse, English judge, born at Hadspen House, Somerset
  • Henry Hobhouse (1854-1937), English landowner and Liberal politician, Member of Parliament for East Somerset (1885-1906)
  • Stephen Hobhouse (1881-1961), English peace activist, prison reformer, and religious writer from Pitcombe, Somerset
  • Reginald Hobhouse (1818-1895), English divine, first Archdeacon of Bodmin and father of Emily and Leonard Hobhouse
  • Edmund Hobhouse (1817-1904), English-born, Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand, and an antiquary, born in London, he emigrated in 1858
  • Sir Charles John Spinney Hobhouse (b. 1962), 7th Baronet of Chantry House and Westbury College, English peer
  • Sir Charles Chisholm Hobhouse (1906-1991), 6th Baronet of Chantry House and Westbury College, English peer
  • Sir Reginald Arthur Hobhouse (1878-1947), 5th Baronet of Chantry House and Westbury College, English peer
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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